11/8/2019 Part 112 Claire’s story: Who is taking care of who?

By   K. Hecht, A. Hosack & P. Berman

“It’s so cold out here Mr. Carson we have to walk a little faster or I will be too cold!” Davy said picking up his pace and dragging dog alone with him on a lease. Up a head, he suddenly saw Mr. Dugan coming towards them from the opposite direction. He began to jump up and down, “Mr. Carson, there is Mr. Dugan. He must have taken a walk! Let’s meet him half way. Hurry, hurry!” Davy’s excitement was transmitted to the dog as they began running towards Mr. Dugan; Mr. Carson was lagging further and further behind.

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“Hello, hello, hello Mr. Dugan we were just coming to look for you,” Davy said jumping up and down while the dog was running circles around him – the dog leash was becoming tangled up in Davy’s legs.

“Careful Davy,” Mr. Dugan said sternly, “that dog is going to cause you to fall down and get hurt.” “No, no, no it’s a really good dog Mr. Dugan. He is my friend. I fall down all the time and I just get a few bumps and bruises.” Mr. Carson was finally coming up from behind. “Hello, Mr. Dugan. I see you already met our new dog.”

“Didn’t I see your girl put on notice of dog for sale in the newspaper? What’s wrong with the dog that you want to get rid of it?” Mr. Dugan asked. Now the Davy had calmed down, so had the dog. It was looking carefully at Mr. Dugan and now was walking slowly closer to him. Mr. Dugan was very familiar with how to handle dogs. He bent down a little bit closer to the dog and put out his hand. Dog came over and was sniffing away first at Mr. Dugan’s hand and then his right pocket.

“That’s a smart dog, he can tell I have a sandwich in my pocket.” Turning to the dog he said sternly but quietly, “that sandwich is for me, now you go over here where I can see you and stay away from it,” Mr. Dugan said pointing to a spot a little further away from his pocket. The dog seemed to understand and did what he was told.

“There is nothing wrong with the dog. Claire found him walking home from the bus and he was quite neglected, skinny and thirsty. We’ve been taking care of him until he was healthy enough for us to find him a good home.”

“I really want to keep dog”, Davy said looking sad but then, looked at Mr. Dugan and said, “everyone says they can’t take care of me and the dog and so the dog has to go. But we are only giving him to a good home where I know the person understands dogs (1-minute pause).”

“Why are you calling him dog. Doesn’t he deserve a name?” Mr. Dugan asked. “My mom thinks if I name him, I will have even more trouble seeing him go away. (1-minute pause where Davy knees down and hugs the dog to him) I’m going to be sad even though I still call him dog. But I understand, that I can’t keep.”

The dog was licking Davy on the face which was very ticklish. Davy began to laugh. “I see that dog really knows how to cheer you up,” Mr. Dugan said. “Yes, dog loves me,” Davy said scratching dog’s head. “He is a good dog Mr. Dugan,” Mr. Carson said, “we just budgeted it out with the shots and the vet’ s visits and the money just isn’t there for a dog.” “I hate budgets,” Davy said looking up at Mr. Dugan, “but mommy took me to the store to buy food for this week and added it all up on a calculator to show me how there was no money left over for dog food. But we bought the dog food by putting back all the ice cream, and all the meat.”

“I can live without that ice cream- though it makes my tummy sad. Our family needs the meat, (Davy sighs) but I would give it up for dog. But I understand we can’t give up meat. I needed meat to get bigger and Mr. Carson needs it for his blood, (Davy was looking strangely at Mr. Carson) but I can’t quite understand why.”

Mr. Dugan was looking Davy and the dog over. “You’re got a smart boy there Carson, to understand budgets at his age. I’ve had dogs before and you’re right it takes a good bit of money and sometimes it can mean a sacrifice to keep them,” Mr. Carson turned to the dog who was sitting patiently, wagging his tail at Mr. Dugan and said, “I’m pretty amazed how this dog is listening to you Mr. Dugan.” “I have had a lot of experience with dogs. Come on over here dog,” he said. The dog came over and began licking Mr. Dugan’s hand again. “Do you want to come and live with me dog? Of course, I could only have you if Davy here would walk you once a day because I do have bad arthritis,” Mr. Dugan said looking over at Davy. “Can I please Mr. Carson. If I could walk dog once a day it would be like he was still my friend even though he didn’t live at our house.”

“You’ll have to be a good responsible neighbor Davy. If you promise to take him for walks, you need to go over and do it even if it’s raining even if it’s cold,” Mr. Carson said seriously. “I’ll do my best, but if I forget will you remind me Mr. Carson?” “That sounds like a good plan Davy.”

“I think I’ll call you buddy,” Mr. Dugan said to the dog. “It’s a good name for you because you are Davy’s buddy and you’re going to be mine.”

Dog has a home and a name now. Mr. Dugan is lonely, and the dog is going to give him something important to do- caring for a living being that will give him affection and companionship in return.

It isn’t easy to take good care of a dog. Pets may find it isn’t that easy caring for their owner.

Service dogs can play a role in saving the lives of people with diabetes, seizures, and other serious health problems. They have to receive extensive training to meet the needs of their specific owner. To read about them go to:

https://share.america.gov/service-dogs-save-lives/

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